Monday, March 19, 2007

DSGMC wants Delhi to help Afghan Sikhs

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) urged the government yesterday to arrange safe passage for Sikhs living in Afghanistan who said they faced humiliation and ill-treatment there.
DSGMC was reacting to a Reuters report that said Sikhs in southern Afghanistan were spat on by locals and their men stoned. The report said Sikhs hid in back alleys in the city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the hardline Islamic Taliban movement, and yearn for the safety of India.
"The government of India should look at the Sikhs in Afghanistan as its own citizens and act urgently to give them the option of safe passage from Afghanistan where their religion is in danger," "If they are ensured bread and butter in India, they will not like to stay in Afghanistan where they are humiliated and ill-treated," Sikh community leader told a news conference.
He said New Delhi must rehabilitate Sikhs who choose to come to India but Indian officials would not immediately comment.
In the late 1980s, there were about 500,000 Sikhs spread across Afghanistan, many of them money lenders for generations. But following the Mujahideen civil war and the rise in 1994 of the Taliban, with its hardline interpretation of Islamic law, most fled. Sikhs who fled Afghanistan in the 1990s and live in India say New Delhi should do more for them as well as their community members still residing in the Islamic nation.
Sikh News by